Veganism is a popular and widely-explored diet among the uber-healthy and environmentally conscious. Not only does veganism exclude the consumption and use of all animal products, but it encourages a philosophy of animal equality and the abolition of animal cruelty.
However, veganism can sometimes be mistaken for a quick weight-loss fix. Unfortunately, it is not a sure-fire way to drop pounds, as there are many pitfalls you can fall into without knowing it. Read on to find out why going vegan isn’t the best way to lose weight.
1. It Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Healthier Food
Many vegans who have been practicing veganism for years have developed a philosophy and a lifestyle as well as a diet. Such people have incredibly nutritious and healthy diets, full of a wide range of veggies, fruits, grains and pulses. However, it is very possible to go vegan and not actually adopt a healthy diet. You can still eat a high-calorie diet with very little nutritional value and call it “vegan”.
What’s more, there are many vegan-friendly treats and desserts on the market (which is great!). But, it does offer the chance to eat a diet which is not conducive to weight loss. It might be a better idea to start off with a healthy diet full of fresh produce, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Once you have gotten used to this, you could slowly take away animal products and progress to a fully vegan diet. Many people also make use of weight loss supplements to ramp-up their weight loss progress as well, which can be helpful. Just remember to start off by keeping your diet focused on nutrition and health, as opposed to simply classifying your food as vegan.
2. It Doesn’t Take Portion Control Into Consideration
Consuming appropriate meal portions is one of the most crucial parts of weight loss. You might be eating “healthy” food, but you can still eat too much of it. This means that you consume too many calories than what your body requires in order to lose weight.
Adopting a seemingly-healthy diet such as veganism can make you feel as though you can eat as much as you like while still remaining healthy. Whereas it’s better to eat a wide range of foods and food groups, but practice eating moderate portions.
High-calorie, vegan-friendly foods such as grains, nuts, olive oil and legumes are very healthy, but they can be overdone. Try to fill your meals with leafy greens and vegan-friendly protein, and stick to the recommended portion sizes of fats, grains and legumes.
3. It May Encourage Binge-Eating Or Yo-Yo Dieting
If you choose a vegan diet solely for the purpose of losing weight, the restrictions may be too much to maintain. (Whereas if you turn to veganism because your philosophies and your lifestyle preference align, then you will find it easier to take on the dietary change).
Starting a new and restrictive diet which cuts out whole food groups can cause cravings and the urge to binge eat. Binge eating and yo-yo dieting can really confuse the metabolism and decrease your chances of losing the weight you want to.
You might find that the lack of animal protein or dairy makes you tired and hungry, causing you to fill the void with too much food. If you are set on following a vegan diet, ensure that you are eating a wide range of satisfying and nutritious foods (while keeping portions under control) so you don’t feel deprived or hungry.
4. You Might Not Be Eating Enough Protein
Getting enough protein through your diet is important, as it allows your muscles to grow and strengthen. If you don’t get enough protein, your muscles can become weakened and deteriorated, which in turn, slows the metabolism. Cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy puts you at risk of not getting enough protein.
Make sure to add lots of pulses (beans and lentils) to your diet as they offer lots of protein and dietary fiber to keep you full and strong.
If you are unsure about how much protein (and other macros such as fats and carbs) you are consuming each day, you could download a calorie-counting app. Apps such as MyFitnessPal are great because they tell you how many grams of protein you are consuming.
By logging all of your food into an app, you can learn which foods contain which macros, so you can learn to create well-balanced, nutritious meals while still sticking to the rules of veganism. You can also check out 6 easy to prepare and healthy recipes here.
5. You Could Be Drinking Too Many Calories
Drinking pure juices, smoothies and health drinks is fine in moderation, but it can be very easy to go too far. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that vegan drinks are low in calories, as it’s often the opposite.
Many newbies to the vegan lifestyle think that consuming vegan health drinks is a good way to ensure they are getting enough nutrients. This is not “bad” in itself, but it does get tricky when drinks are added to main meals.
Adding a smoothie or juice to your meal may add a few hundred extra calories which you haven’t accounted for. The safest way to combat this is to simply stick to water, black coffee and herbal tea. When you want to have a smoothie or juice, make room for it by having it as your breakfast or lunch, and not with another meal.
If you are thinking of going vegan in order to lose weight, think again. It might not be the answer to your weight-loss goals, especially if you don’t do it quite right. Don’t think that just because a food is vegan, that it is healthy, as that can be a major weight-loss trap.
If you are still determined to go vegan, ensure that you practice portion control and you eat enough protein. Keep yourself satisfied and full with healthy and nourishing foods to avoid bingeing. Veganism is as much about the philosophy and lifestyle behind it, as well as the diet itself, which makes it much more than a simple weight-loss fix.
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